Nothing But the Truth

Dutton. Jul. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780593186503. pap. $17. F
DEBUT James’s debut is a sharply funny feminist spin on the 1997 Jim Carrey film Liar Liar. The night before her 30th birthday, publicist Lucy Green is in a bar waiting for her boyfriend—whom she’s hoping will propose marriage to her tomorrow. The cute bartender makes her a special cocktail, and Lucy makes a silent wish for a perfect birthday. The next day something has changed, though she’s not sure what. She seems to have lost her usual zeal for self-improvement: why should she go to spin class every morning, where the instructor shouts at her? Why should she squeeze into shapewear that restricts her breathing? Why shouldn’t she have a gooey egg sandwich for breakfast? Soon Lucy realizes that she’s entirely lost the ability to lie. This is bad news for her PR career, but it’s even more earth-shaking that Lucy can’t lie to herself anymore. She can no longer swallow the slights that life hands to professional women or the many ways in which societal norms and pressures force her to tie herself in knots. James (who’s trained in clinical psychology) uses her novel’s amusing premise and relatable heroine to engage readers, while Lucy’s plight is a way to explore deeper issues of workplace politics, harassment, and the social constraints placed on women.
VERDICT Could be the next The Devil Wears Prada.
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